A forensic accountant can be an exciting and highly rewarding career path. Basically, you take knowledge of accounting and mix it with skills for investigating, and you will get an idea of what this job is about. This means you have to have a head for numbers and an eye for details.
A forensic accountant’s main job is usually investigating fraudulent activity. This can be for a company or an individual. Helping to prevent fraudulent activity from occurring is another area of work. You may also need to gather evidence of suspected fraud, for a court of law.
A forensic accountant may also find work by those going through a divorce that need to prove fraud from their ex, from insurance companies investigating claims, where fraudulent activity is believed to have happened with owed royalties, even in general consulting work. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a federal level job that also has a need for many forensic investigators.
The job description could be summed up in data collecting, preparing, analysis, and reporting, though more skills are often required. If you plan to flourish in this career, you must train your mind to be inquisitive, paying attention to small details, which may be the key to spotting fraudulent activity.
Communication skills are important and often come with the job; as appearing in court, to give an expert opinion, is a regular task in this field of work. This is a job that requires strength and independence, considering that there isn’t a lot of teamwork involved in most of the work.
Requirements for Forensic Accountants
A bachelor’s degree is required for most positions, with a degree in accounting being the most common choice. You may need certification, depending on your state of residence, such as a CFAPs (Certified Forensic Accounting Professionals), or IFAs (Investigative & Forensic Accountants). A few years of experience in accounting and auditing might be a requirement for many job openings. A master’s degree, in forensic accounting, will open many more positions.
This can be a very rigorous course of study because you are expected to learn everything required for a regular accounting position, including the forensic portion. This includes forensic investigation, data collection, and all of the tools, such as computer programs, that you will be utilizing daily in your work.
While a lot of studying is required for this career, there is a lot of reward to potentially gain. The average forensic accountant makes over $70,000 annually, though an upward of $100,000 is not unheard of, especially in cities such as New York.
More good news for those considering this career path is that the growth is expected to be substantially higher than other similar career paths. In fact, it is believed to be higher than the national average, for most careers. This means plenty of opportunities to grow and increase your income.